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North & East are nowhere close to middle income category: CM C.V. Wigneswaran

Dec 5 (CT) From an economic standpoint today’s is an important rendezvous for our investors, entrepreneurs, provincial administrators and Gov authorities. We are gathered here today to conduct Northern Entrepreneurs Awards Ceremony 2014. It is the first awarding programme for the entrepreneurs of the Northern Province with the object of recognizing, motivating and rewarding Northern Province based entrepreneurs who have contributed to National wellbeing. more..

Sri Lanka Tea crop lowest in three years

Dec 5 (EN) Heavy rains and poor prices have reduced SL’s tea output this year to a three-year low, especially of low grown teas cultivated mainly by small farmers who grow the bulk of the crop. Tea production in Oct 2015 fell 5% to 26.7 million kilos from last year. Production for Jan–Oct period was down 1.4% at 279.8 million kilos from last year, brokers Asia Siyaka said. “Excessive rain and continual overcast conditions restricted growth and impeded normal agricultural practices,” more..

'Cardboard patriots beating war drums'

Dec 5 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament yesterday that the speeches made by Opposition members at the Committee Stage debate on budget proposals on Ministry of Defence expenditure allocations were only attempts at misplaced war rhetoric. "For which war are you beating these war drums? As there is no war in this country maybe it is for the war in Syria? With whom should we fight? more..

RTI Act will not affect privacy: Govt

Dec 5 (Island) The Right to Information Bill introduced by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution did not provide for obtaining information about peoples private lives or on national security, says Minister Rajitha Senaratne. He told the media that the Right to Information Bill (RTI), which had been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday, would, as PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had said, be discussed at provincial level before being presented to Parliament. more..

SL police score own-goal in rights case

Dec 5 (EN) Sri Lanka's police may have scored an own goal by trying to invoke the United Nation's Universal Declaration on Human Rights as a defence against allegations they used excessive force in breaking up a student demonstration in October. SSP Ajith Rohana, a former police spokesman, argued before the Human Rights Commission that students were in breach of an article in the UN declaration by causing disruption to motorists and others in the area. more..

'Govt should stop sending housemaids to Saudi Arabia'

Dec 5 (DN) Deputy Minister Ajith Perera told Parliament yesterday that measures should be taken to stop sending housemaids to Saudi Arabia, if the Saudi Arabian Govt does not intervene to stop the killing of a Sri Lankan housemaid without respecting the point of view of the Sri Lankan Govt. The maid has been sentenced to death by stoning in Saudi Arabia. A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a Sri Lankan woman, more..

NPC opposition leader reports irregularities there to AG

Dec 5 (Island) NPC Leader of Opposition Sinnadurai Thavarajah has complained to the Auditor General that the NPC has been flouting the Financial Regulations. Thavarajah said that EPDP leader Douglas Devananda, too, had been informed of the violations and that he would not stay silent over them. "I have, on several occasions, pointed out misdeeds of the Council," the EPDP provincial councillor said. The letter sent by the Leader of the Opposition to the Auditor General says: more..

Six-member Committee to probe Youth Parliament activities

Dec 5 (DN) A six member committee headed by Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam was appointed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to probe the activities of the Youth Parliament and recommend measures to be adopted by the govt for the progress and welfare of the Sri Lankan youth generation. The other members of the committee are State Minister Niroshan Perera, Deputy Minister Anuradha Jayaratne, NYSC Chairman W.G.S. Erandika and Speaker and the PM of Youth Parliament. more..

Our children should set an example to world when using new technology: President

Dec 5 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena said that our children should set an example to the world by using mobile phones and computers productively. It is essential to understand what is necessary and unnecessary for us when associating with the new technology, the President said. He made these observations participating at the annual prize giving ceremony of Maliyadeva College Kurunegala, today (04). more..

SL accepts Kyoto Protocol amendment

Dec 5 (UNFCCC) Sri Lanka submitted its instrument of acceptance of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on 2 Dec 2015. Amendment is expected to enter into force after three quarters of the Parties to the Protocol submit their instruments of acceptance to the Depositary. UN is encouraging govts to speed up their ratification of the 2nd commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, international emissions reduction treaty. more..

Each SME employs 3 Lankans: Rishad

Dec 5 (GDI) Contribution of Lankan SMEs are not only for country’s economic growth but even for its employment generation, as revealed on 3 Dec. “We all know the importance of SMEs to our economy. On average every Lankan SME provides employment to three Lankans” said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen on 3 Dec. He was addressing the inauguration of Shilpa Exhibition by the National Crafts Council under his Ministry on 03 December at Sri Lank Exhibition and Conventions Centre. more..

Nalaka Godahewa postpones FCID visit

Dec 5 (AD) Former Chairman of Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr Nalaka Godahewa, has requested the FCID for a different date to record a statement as he is unable to appear today. He was summoned to appear at FCID at 9am today, however he had informed that he will be unable to do so due to prior engagements, ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said. Therefore he has requested for another date next week. more..

Wigneswaran keen on sending relief to TN

Dec 5 (ENS) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran on Friday expressed a wish send relief to the flood-affected people of Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu as an expression of gratitude for the way the people of Tamil Nadu had risen in support of the beleaguered Tamils of Lanka in the 1980s bringing the latter’s plight to the attention of the international community. CM said that Board of Ministers of Northern Province would meet to discuss what could be sent more..

Body of missing fisherman found off Talamannar coast

Dec 5 (PTI) One of the bodies of the fishermen, who went missing along with four others near Katchativu islet, was found off the Talaimannar sea coast in Sri Lanka. Four fishermen were missing since Nov 28 after their boat hit a rock near Katchativu island, police said. Initially the officials got the information that the fishermen got stranded in the island but they were not found there. Then Navy and coastguard launched a massive manhunt to trace them but they could not be found, more..

Sri Lanka in talks with India and Pakistan to bolster military

Dec 5 (DM) Govt is holding discussions with several countries, including India and Pakistan, to strengthen Sri Lanka's military, State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene informed Parliament yesterday. Speaking during the Committee Stage debate on the Budget, he said India was expected to provide two war ships to Sri Lanka, while talks had already begun with Pakistan to obtain new aircraft for Air Force. more..

Stop abusing the Fourth Estate!

Dec 6 (CT) World is filled with lies. The world is filled with lies, has been and will be until the end of time. That much is obvious to our readers and needs not a repetition. From the simplest lie a child says to its parents after stealing some candy from the cupboard, to the lovers who whisper sweet and poisonous lies to each other and lies that are disseminated on a larger scale by politicians and propaganda, that might one day change the course of history as we know, lies are everywhere. more..

Beating Mahinda at his own game

Dec 6 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I must write to you because you are almost completing a year in office and I thought it is my duty to tell you that you are doing a wonderful job, perhaps even beating Mahinda maama at his own game, even though some people are not happy with the way you are doing business. It is worthwhile remembering that you were elected to create a yahapaalanaya govt, replacing a govt that concentrated power in one individual and his family. more..

Wimal Weerawansa

Argle-bargle over legal eagle as cell ring courts contempt

Dec 6 (ST) When a president’s counsel’s cell phone reputedly began to repeatedly sound his favourite ring tone in the Galle High Court on Monday, it was enough to drive the legal eagle up the gum tree to answer a call of contempt in court. Sitting judge K.B.K. Hirimburegama was not amused to have the decorum of his court destroyed by the phone’s incessant blare that he charged President’s Counsel Rienzie Arsecularatne with contempt of court. Neither was former solicitor general willing to more..

Smooth passage of maiden budget

Dec 6 (CT) The maiden budget of the unity govt managed to bag a two-thirds majority of the MPs present on the day of the vote for the Second Reading stage of Budget 2016 with 159 MPs voting in favour and against 52 who said No to the budget. The Second Reading of Budget 2016 saw the TNA voting in favour of a national budget for the first time. Everyone's attention was focused on the budget vote as speculations were ripe about crossovers from joint opposition to govt. more..

Sri Lanka: Fancy a cuppa?

Dec 6 (NZH) Most Kiwis are partial to a good cuppa. Many are also partial to a nice wine. And in SL, you can have both in one glass. Or so says Merrill J. Fernando - best known as the man on the Dilmah Tea ads on the telly - as he sips a golden brew from a clear goblet in his Colombo office. To him, it's a shiraz. Wine, tea - whatever. I just need a drink. Over the past few days, I've bussed along SL's notoriously bad roads, more..

Carsons to raise Rs 10B by selling plantations

Dec 6 (CT) Blue chip Carson Cumberbatch plc controlled by the Selvanathan brothers Mano and Hari, plans to raise Rs 10.35 billion by selling at least some of its plantation stock in Malaysia. These comprise a total of a maximum of 1,600 hectares; a drop in the ocean compared to the over 150,000 ha., of plantation stock, mainly oil palm (similar to that of their Malaysian entities), which the Carsons Group, the parent holds, in Indonesia, market sources however told this reporter. more..

Victor and vanquished out of step with the other’s tune

Dec 6 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena took the unprecedented step of addressing Parliament on two successive days this week as the Committee Stage debate of the Budget got under way on Thursday, while his predecessor, MP Mahinda Rajapaksa, finally stepped out of his comfort zone in the environs of Abhayaramaya and spoke in Parliament. However, the views each of them expressed clearly illustrated the disconnect between the two on how country should move forward more..

SL is committed to world peace: President

Dec 6 (PMD) A group of representatives of The Comprehensive Nuclear- Test–Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) met President Maithripala Sirisena today (5) at President’s Official Residence. President appreciated the visit of the delegation headed by Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of CTBTO. During the meeting, a cordial discussion was held between the President and representatives. more..

Donor Business Class, Recipient First Class

Dec 6 (ST) If Minister Ravi Karunanayake can recognize his own Budget proposals when it comes to the final vote on Dec 19, he could consider himself lucky. Such are the pressures on him from various quarters to cut and chop, and amend, his original suggestions, notwithstanding the fact that the Govt received a two third majority vote in Parliament last Wednesday week at the vote of the second reading. That the vote came amidst a doctors’ protest strike, trade union action more..

‘No merger of Northern & Eastern Provinces’

Dec 6 (Hindu) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has rejected the idea of merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces for economic reasons. To a question why the merger should not be allowed to achieve cost reduction — considering the fact that the Northern Province accounted for four per cent of the Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product (GDP) and the East — 6%, Mr. Karunanayake said that “at this moment, we are trying to embrace all races, all religions together. more..

Three athletes qualify for Olympics

Dec 6 (ST) Three Sri Lankan athletes Sumedha Ranasinghe (Javelin), Indrajith Cooray (Men’s Marathon) and Geethani Ratnasekera (Women’s Marathon) booked their slots to the Rio Olympics to be held in Brazil from August 5 to 21, 2016 by reaching the qualifying standards so far. Apart from this trio the doors are still open for the other athletes till July 11, next year to qualify themselves for the Olympics by more..

Economy to grow at 6.7%: Moody’s

Dec 6 (CT) Moody's Investors Service says that continued GDP growth is driving the stable outlook for SL's banking system. "While seeing some slowdown compared to the growth rates seen in 2013-14, GDP growth in SL should remain healthy at 6.7% over 2015-16. And an accommodative monetary policy should support this growth outlook," says Srikanth Vadlamani, a Moody's Vice President. "In addition, greater participation from private sector in investments, more..

Jayantha on standby for Thilanga

Dec 6 (CT) Former Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Jayantha Darmadasa handed over his nomination for the post of President for the SLC election yesterday, after he had handed over his nomination for the post of vice-president on the previous day. Dharmadasa handed over his nomination as a precaution in case Thilanga Sumathipala's nomination for the post of President could get rejected. Dharmdasa attended a press conference the day before along with more..

Cricket AGM anxiety gathers momentum

Dec 6 (ST) The intensity to the run for seats at the forthcoming cricket elections is reaching sky high. Respective parties from both factions are busy trying their luck to rope in voters by enticing influential individuals with post election positions. So much so it is learned that some even have been promised high positions which are already occupied at Sri Lanka Cricket. Some also have indicated that even if they have signed up with a respective more..

SriLankan to split business, offer VRS

Dec 6 (EN) SriLankan Airlines aims to split its operating model, placing its engineering and ground handling units into a separate business from the airline, and reduce staff, its chief executive said. The national carrier now has 21 aircraft and 6,900 staff and intends not to hire more people for the time being, said Suren Ratwatte, chief executive of SriLankan Airlines and the budget carrier Mihin Lanka. "We’re working on a VRS (voluntary retirement scheme)," more..

Chennai airport closure forces SriLankan Airlines to cancel more flights

Dec 6 (EN) SriLankan Airlines said it has been compelled to cancel more flights after Indian aviation authorities announced the aerodrome of the Chennai Airport will be closed for commercial operations till Dec 8. The flights UL 121, UL 122, UL 127, UL128, UL 123 and UL 124 of Dec 6, UL 125, UL 126, UL 121, UL 122, UL 127, UL 128, UL 123, UL 124 and UL 125 of Dec 8 will not be operated. SriLankan's codeshare partner, Mihin Lanka's flights MJ 129 and 130 have also been cancelled. more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa parliament speech

'Hutch valued around $ 100M'

Dec 6 (CT) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is planning to conclude the Mobitel- Hutchison deal as early as possible, a senior company official said. "A reputed International audit firm has submitted lower and upper range of pricing for this deal. It is around the US$ 100 million range," he said. He also said that there are several govt protocols to follow before making any final decision. "At the moment, Mobitel has only an interrupted spectrum. If they tie up with Hutch, Mobitel will be a powerful more..

Beefed up security at BIA, SriLankan & Mihin

Dec 6 (ST) Security is expected to be beefed up at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in the wake of the recent global threat of terrorism. Civil Aviation Authority Director General H.M.C. Nimalsiri told the Business Times that Sri Lanka will be beefing up security at the BIA in the context of the global threat of terrorism. “We would be doing everything possible,” he said in view of ensuring safety at the airport since “terrorism is not confined only to one country.” more..

Rs 23 B more for new Hqrs. procurements

Dec 6 (CT) The Budget 2016 allocation for the Ministry of Defence which is nearly Rs 23 billion (nearly 9% of the GDP), more than the allocation in the 2014 budgetary proposals, is provision for new procurements, new allowances and salary increases for Defence Ministry staff, the Ministry of Defence said. Budget 2016 has allocated Rs 306 Billion for defence expenditure compared with 2014 budgetary allocation of Rs 283bn more..

Woman hacked, shot dead by husband

Dec 6 (CT) Police have commenced investigations into an incident in which a woman has been hacked and shot dead by her husband in Wennappuwa police division yesterday (2) at around 9.30p.m. The deceased was identified as a 29-year-old resident of Lunuwila. Her remains are kept at the morgue of Marawila Hospital. The post mortem examination is to be held today (3). The victim and the suspect, a married couple, lived in Italy. Victim arrived in Sri Lanka due to a family dispute more..

Noel’s murder hearing tomorrow

Dec 6 (CT) The case relating to the alleged murder of Noel Ranaweera (36), a staff member of the Sri Lankan mission in Russia, who is believed to have been murdered in Russia in June 2014, will be heard in the Attanagalla Court tomorrow. Noel's body, exhumed in April this year for examination, will be handed over tomorrow to the family to be reburied under police supervision. Court ordered exhumation of Noel's body for further post mortem examination in April 2015 following a case filed by more..

Several new bills in pipeline for the new year

Dec 6 (ST) A Bill to amend the Penal Code to criminalise the incitement of feelings of religious, racial or communal disharmony or hostility has been sent to AG’s Department. This Bill is among several new pieces of legislation that are in the pipeline for the new year, according to Justice Ministry’s progress report. Outlawing of hate speech was among one of the recommendations made by LLRC and the Bill has been drafted in line with these recommendations. more..

Sluice gates opened as tanks reach spill level

Dec 6 (ST) Sluice gates of almost all irrigation tanks have been opened as water levels were reaching spill level yesterday, a senior officer of Irrigation Department said. He said they are on alert for possible overflowing as well as leakage of tanks. He said, the Meteorology Department had warned that there would be more rain towards the end of this month and there were fears of flooding once again as the water volume in most of the tanks had reached above 80% of its capacity. more..